Production news round-up: November 4 to 11

Dianne Pilkington and the West End cast of Mamma Mia! Photo: Brinkhoff-Mogenburg
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Production news stories published on The Stage website from November 4 to 11.

Phill Jupitus is to join the West End cast of Urinetown from December 1. Jupitus will replace Simon Paisley Day as Caldwell B Cladwell, and joins the cast as Jenna Russell and Marc Elliott leave the show. They will be replaced by current cast members Julie Jupp and Alasdair Buchan.
Writers: Mark Hollmann (music and lyrics), Greg Kotis (book and lyrics)
Director: Jamie Lloyd
Producers: Julian Stoneman Assocaiates and the Araca Group, with Jenifer Evans, Tulchin/Bartner Productions, Greenleaf Productions, in association with Flora Suk Hwa Yoon, Los Foleys, Olympus theatricals, Deborah Negri, Richard Winkler and Manal Morrar.

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Shobna Gulati and Sue Devaney will join Sarah Poyzer in Mamma Mia!, when the international tour of the musical plays in Liverpool next year. They join Richard Standing and Niamh Perry in the show, which will run at the Liverpool Empire from February 20 to March 14.
Writers: Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus (music and lyrics), Catherine Johnson (book)
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Producer: Judy Craymer, Richard East and Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal, Stage Entertainment and NGM

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Philip Quast will join Emma Thompson and Bryn Terfel in the cast of Sweeney Todd, which runs in London next year. Quast will play the judge and will reprise his role in the production, which ran in New York earlier this year. The show will run at the London Coliseum from March 30 to April 12, with press night on March 31.
Writers: Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) Hugh Wheeler (lyrics)
Director: Lonny Price
Producer: English National Opera

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Mamma Mia! has extended its booking to October next year. The musical, which has been housed at London’s Novello Theatre since 2012, was booking until April 2015, but will now run at least until October 24.
Writers: Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus (music and lyrics), Catherine Johnson (book)
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Producer: Judy Craymer, Richard East and Ulvaeus for Littlestar in association with Universal

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Memphis has extended its booking to October next year. The show, which opened at the Shaftesbury Theatre last month and stars Beverley Knight and Killian Donnelly, had originally been booking until the spring but is now selling tickets until October 31, 2015.
Writers: David Bryan (music and lyrics), Joe DiPietro (book and lyrics)
Director: Christopher Ashley
Choreographer: Sergio Trujillo
Producer: Junkyard Dog Productions, Marlene and Kenny Alhadeff, Barbara Freitag, Joseph Smith and John Brant

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Jonathan Miller is set to join forces with Northern Broadsides to direct King Lear in February 2015. The production will open at the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax before touring the UK until June. The production will feature the company’s artistic director Barrie Rutter in the lead role.
Writer: William Shakespeare
Director: Jonathan Miller
Design: Isabella Bywater (set), Guy Hoare (lighting)
Producer: Northern Broadsides

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Kingston’s Rose Theatre has revealed the line-up for its 2015 season, including a new production of Romeo and Juliet directed by Sally Cookson. The production has music by Benji Bower and runs from February 28 until March 21. The season also includes The Absence of War, a co-production between Sheffield Theatres and Headlong, two productions from Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds – Tim Firth’s Sign of the Times and Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K Jerome – and Northern Broadsides’ King Lear.
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London’s Finborough Theatre has announced its new season which includes 20 world, European and UK premieres. The season opened with Fiona Doyle’s Coolatully, which runs until November 22, and also includes Vibrant, a festival of 15 staged readings of new works that runs throughout November. Elsewhere, the season includes Eve Leigh’s Silent Planet, Obama-ology by Aurin Squire, Jerry Herman’s the Grand Tour and Pig Girl by former Canadian playwright-in-residence at the Finborough, Colleen Murphy.

Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre has announced its spring/summer season for 2015, which is led by a production of Anna Karenina directed by Ellen McDougall. The contemporary stage adaptation by Jo Clifford is co-produced by West Yorkshire Playhouse and will run from March 19 to May 2, with press night on March 24. McDougall will also direct the world premiere of The Rolling Stone by Chris Urch, which runs form April 21 to May 1, with press night on April 22. Elsewhere in the season are Arnold Ridley’s The Ghost Train and the premiere of Anna Jordan’s Yen.
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A stage show based on The Hunger Games franchise will be performed at a new purpose-built theatre near Wembley Stadium. Based on Suzanne Collins’ novels and the subsequent film adaptations, the show will premiere in London in the summer of 2016. A spokesman for Lionsgate, which distributes the films, said the show would feature “world-class production values and state-of the-art technology”.
Producers: Robin de Levita, Harvey Goldsmith, Warren Adams for Triangular Entertainment, Brandon Victor Dixon for WalkRunFly Productions, Robert Harris and Gary Ricci.
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Jessica Swale is to direct her own adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd at the Watermill Theatre as part of the venue’s spring season. The Newbury theatre will also stage the world premiere of Agatha Christie’s The Secret Adversary and Terrence Rattigan’s The Deep Blue Sea. The Secret Adversary will run from February 12 to March 21, while Swale’s adaptation will run from April 16 to May 23. The Deep Blue Sea, directed by Douglas Rintoul, will run from June 4 to July 4. The season also includes Tuxedo Junction, which runs from March 31 to April 11.
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Reading Repertory Theatre has announced the line-up for its 2014/15 season, which includes the first stage adaptation of A Little History of the World. The play, based on Ernst Gombrich’s book, is written by Toby Hulse and will be directed by the theatre’s artistic director, Paul Stacey. The production will mark the theatre’s first co-production with the Watermill Theatre, where Reading Rep became an associate company in August. The season also includes David Mamet’s Race, in a co-production with 2Heavy Productions, and Twas the Night Before Christmas, which opens in December.
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Southwark Playhouse has revealed its spring 2015 season for its smaller theatre, Little, which includes two world premieres. Bench Theatre’s These Trees Are Made of Blood by Darren Clark, Amy Draper and Paul Jenkins will be directed by Draper and will run from March 18 to April 11, with press night on March 20. Meanwhile, Sam H Freeman’s Scarlet, directed by Joe Hutton and produced by Theatre Renegade, will run from April 15 to May 9, with press night on April 17. The season also includes Paula Vogel’s I Learned to Drive and Upper Cut by Lotte Wakeham.
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A new film version of the Royal Exchange theatre’s production of Hamlet, starring Maxine Peake, will be released in cinemas in 2015. The stage production, directed by Sarah Frankcom, closed at the Manchester theatre in October, and the film version will be shown across the UK in March 2015. The film is directed by Margaret Williams and produced by Anne Beresford for MJW Productions and Debbie Gray for Genesius Pictures. It will be distributed by Picturehouse Entertainment.
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A new series of cabaret shows inspired by science are set to launch next month. The Curiosity Cabaret will be an interactive theatre experience in the style of a medical lecture. The first show, The Science and History of Voice in the 19th Century, will take place at the Old Operating Theatre in London from December 2 to 7. It will be co-hosted by Clive Selwyn and Rachel Rose Reid and will feature performers including Desmond O’Connor, Zoie Kennedy, Bendy Bendini, Henry Maynard and Eleanor Buchan.
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The Stage Awards 2015